The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, on Sunday said that the Federal Government incurred a total amount of N16 billion as transaction costs on the Treasury Single Account (TSA) since its implementation commenced two years ago.
A statement issued by the Director, Press Unit of the AGF’s Office, Mr Johnson Oise, indicated that the Federal Government had been bearing the cost of transmission of funds into the TSA and would no longer be doing that anymore.
The AGF stated that following the fiscal stance of the government, henceforth the service charge on all payments to its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the TSA would be borne by the payer.
He stated: “Within the last two years, the government spent almost N16bn in this direction which ordinarily should be borne by those making payments.
“So, it is time for Nigerians to pay for the services that they receive and the government will take whatever is due to it without necessarily incurring cost.
“In the old tariff regime, the Federal Government bore the charges on all transactions to the service providers on behalf of payers’’, the AGF added
According to him, a lot of sensitisation has been carried out on the latest fiscal measure to give enable payers to understand the new tariff regime and for compliance, adding that the charges were minimal and negotiable.
The AGF clarified: “By negotiable, I mean by the introduction of more players in the market, definitely the charges will come down from whatever they are now, but right now discussions are going on to make the charges as minimal as possible.
“We are liberalising the market and it has to be a level playing field for all operators to operate and that is what will happen,” he added.
Idris stated further that the Central Bank of Nigeria, as the regulator which stipulates the rates of the charges, would always intervene if any service provider was charged beyond the approved rate.
The TSA implementation, which commenced in September 2015 and has about 1,674 MDAs enrolled on the platform, had led to the closure of over 20,000 bank accounts while over N8 trillion had been moved from the vaults of the DMBs to the CBN.
The AGF stated that the TSA policy had assisted the government to address a lot of impediments affecting the efficiency of public finance management, listing some of its benefits as including, blocking of leakages and abuses which had characterised the public sector financial system over the years.
In addition, Idris stated that the TSA initiative had assisted the government to overcome the problem of indiscriminate borrowings by MDAs, thus saving it huge costs in bank charges.